A local real estate agency was presented the Miami Mike Award from the Miami County Chamber of Commerce last week.
Allen Realty Group, owned by Julie Allen, is entering their fifth year in business at 504 W. Main Street, and Sandy Chittum, Director of the Miami County Chamber of Commerce said the award is given to a business who has made huge improvements.
“This business has been deserving of this award for some time now,” Chittum said. “We are so proud of the work they have done to their building, and all the work they are doing in the real estate market here in Miami County. It’s a well-deserved award.”
Julie, a native Californian, moved to Peru 32 years ago with husband, Mark Allen, when the two decided they would like to try and own a Goodyear Franchise. They had the opportunity to go to Pittsburg or Peru.
“It was an easy choice” Julie said. ”Peru is a great little community and it was just what we were looking for.”
While the Goodyear Store wouldn’t remain open for many years, Peru was place that Julie and Mark would fall in love with and come to consider their hometown.
They raised their children, Heather, Bryan, and Kathryn here in Peru and have two beautiful grandchildren, Charlotte Rose and Emerson Renee.
Mark went to work for Webster’s Insurance and last year purchased it.
Julie spent time working for American Stationary and attended school to obtain her appraiser’s license. She would spend the next 15 years working for Dean Spear Realty before she struck out on her own nearly five years ago.
“I am the luckiest woman alive,” Julie said from her office after receiving the award this week. ”To have the people who work here, this is really a family atmosphere, and it’s why we are so successful. We are fortunate to work with all the real estate agencies in Peru and they are really a great group of people.”
And experience abounds in this little shop of realtors who have become the number one ranked real estate agency in Peru for three years running.
They have a combined total of 60-years-experience in the real estate market and sold over $14 million in real estate last year alone.
But Julie said she doesn’t do it alone. She reported it was a team effort at her place, and what an exciting team of people she has surrounded herself with.
Don Kunkle, a broker with the firm, has almost 36 years of experience in the real estate market, and fell into real estate after signing up for a course in real estate at Peru High School through Indiana University.
At the time, Kunkle, who grew up in the farm community of Santa Fe, had moved to Peru and was teaching Industrial Arts at Peru and Maconaquah in a program called “Project Lead the Way”. But once he took the real estate course, he was hooked. He would spend almost the next three decades working for Carriger Real Estate and Gallahan’s Real Estate before coming to work for Julie.
Don and his wife, Shirley have one son; Matt Kunkle, two daughters; Cathrine Bailey and Carrie Broyles; and seven grandchildren.
Broker Paula Flynn is also in her fifth year at Allen Realty Group, having started out at Spear Real Estate in 2002.
In addition to real estate, Paula keeps very busy as the Pastor of the Living Manna Ministries, and in her own interior painting business, Heavenly Visions.
Suzy McKinley has been with Allen Realty Group for three years and been in real estate as a broker since 2008.
She had worked at Chrysler for 14 years, but at 40 when she and her husband were expecting, she decided to try real estate.
Her husband continues to work as an electrician at Chrysler and Suzy said she has three step-daughters, two daughters and one son.
“I absolutely love working here,” Suzy said of Allen. It’s like a family. We are all very close and I have learned so much since I’ve been here. I also love that Julie is so involved in the community. When Aroma Coffee Shop had their back pack program, Julie jumped right in and donated. She does that all the time.”
Broker Ann Rooker, another native Southern California gal, moved to Peru with her husband Chris nine years ago when the couple’s son, Vincenzo, was getting ready to start school.
She reported she had worked as an Interior Consultant and sold homes for Palazoula Builders in California, and was a jazz singer, but the couple wanted a simpler life.
Nine years later, Ann said she loves Peru and loves her job.
“I love my job,” Ann said. ”I’ve become a million dollar producer. It’s a team here. We work together. I’m proud to work here.”
Broker Inger Marburger rounds out the staff at Allen Realty Group.
Born and raised in Peru, Inger would marry Ryan Marburger, and the two have one daughter and one son, in the fifth and sixth grades.
She spent her time teaching at Maconaquah and Peru before looking for a happy change in her life.
This is a great profession,” Inger said of being a real estate broker. “You are always dealing with happy people. They are either, selling a home, and looking forward to moving to a new home, or buying a new home. I really enjoy it and I enjoy the atmosphere here at work. I have roots here. I have a vested interest in this community.”
The Allen Realty Group deals in all types of real estate from residential and commercial, to land and farms.
“If you are thinking of selling,’ Julie said, “come see us. We are happy to do a free market analysis for you. The real estate market is definitely improving. We are seeing home prices inching up. And at this time of year, there is actually a shortage of inventory, so now is the time to list your home.”
Allen Realty Group is located at 504 W. Main Street and can be contacted at (765)460-5177.